Expat (IN) Nigeria? Get it? No, ok we'll explain. It's a play on words on 'expats in Nigeria trying to 'expert' Nigeria. We think it's pretty witty don't you?
This is a new segment on the site where we talk to different expats living in Nigeria about their experience in a bid to show how varied their situations are and also dispel or reinforce myths.
Todays' guest is a 42 year old male from the dreamy Greek country. He moved here for love and believes in living the life of a Nigerian instead of that of an expat.
When was the first time you heard of Nigeria?
The first time was while watching TV as a young boy. The news was covering the Biafra war and showing images of malnourished kids. Other than that, the next time was when I met this lovely girl during my first year in university in UK some 20 years ago, that also happened to be staying in the same building as me. We fell in love and the rest is history.
Sigh, Biafara is an ugly episode in our history but yayyy to falling in love.
So were you worried about coming here?
I first came in 2004 as part of my Christmas holiday, 5 years before we relocated. I was not worried per say but certainly curious. I do remember wondering in mild fear why policemen were stationed all over the roads holding AK-47s…
We wonder why too. With the AK-47s on full display, why did you still come?
Cause I was in love. Love makes you do crazy things!
Ain't that the truth! Tell us a little bit about yourself
42 year old from Southern Europe that relocated to Nigeria; married with two kids.
How long have you been here for?
10 years going to 11. When asked socially the same question my response is typically “too long!”
We understand. Is this your first time being an expatriate?
I was an expatriate working in UK before coming here, so no.
What do you do here?
I work in construction.
Your wife is Nigerian, how has the merging of both cultures gone?
I will need to write a book about the stories of how my wife integrated into my culture and vice versa. Lets just say that if you are willing to work around differences for the sake of a greater purpose then it all works out in the end. That being said there are many similarities we share in our culture, such as importance of family into ones life etc.
Was there a struggle on how to raise your kids so both your cultures could be imbibed or did you guys chart your own course?
We did and still are charting our own course; there's no rule book but we love our kids and that guides us forward.
What does your daily life look like? (weekends inclusive)
Work/family/hobbies and sport. Most of the time spent with family.
Family guy, we love to see it. How would you describe the life of an expat in Nigeria from your own point of view?
It would be rather unfair to describe the life of an expat in Nigeria based on my own experience as I have had it easy; my wife and her family had made all the necessary arrangements prior to our arrival and we are constantly around family and friends.
Ain't you lucky
That being said, life in Nigeria as an expat has several positives and some negatives but all together its quite good.
What’s been the biggest cultural shock?
In a positive way, how much music plays a part in everything and how much Nigerians love to party and dance.
Oh yes, we love a good party. What’s the hardest part about living here?
Being away from family and friends.
Do you have Nigerian friends or do you hang out with the large expat tribe we have in the country?
I have both as friends.
Do you have any beliefs that hold you back from fully adapting to culture here?
No not really.
Best & worst thing about living here?
Best is family – our old house used to be across a church so every Sunday our house was full of relatives and kids coming over after the service.
Oooo, big family Sunday brunch at home vibes.
Worst- a lot of things, lets say traffic just to be PC (politically correct)
We do not disagree with that. Can you communicate in any of the local languages? If yes say something.
Willing to stay in Nigeria or can’t wait to get the hell out of the country?
Bit of both. Lately with all the madness going around I am inclined towards packing my bags up and going back to my country.
Not sure we're allowed to say this but we want to run away too. Anyway any advice for expats?
Respect the culture and the people of the country that has taken you in. Live the life of a Nigerian rather than the life of an expat.
LOVE IT. Any last words?
It is well :)
Is it just us or is LOVE a huge relocating factor among our expats. We love it especially because it's the men moving for their women and adapting to the culture.
What did you guys think of our Grecian's piece?
If you know anyone who would be interested in featuring, shoot us a message.